... indefatigable, scrupulous ... like the most engrossing nonfiction stories, has a plot indeed, one that only reality could contrive. To fully appreciate its twists and turns, the reader should understand, or be willing to study on the fly, the customs, manners and vocabulary of contemporary investment banking. The sure reward for this effort is utter horror, unless the reader is herself a banker, in which case profound embarrassment might be more appropriate ... So what is the moral of this cautionary tale? What was Neumann’s mistake? His tragic flaw? Different readers will settle on different charges, but it might not matter. A 10-figure payout proves all of them wrong.
... steady and restrained ... [Wiedeman] could have easily let loose from the beginning with a sensationalist narrative of exploitation and degradation, but he bides his time, allowing his evidence to accrue...This method gives the reader a chance to understand Neumann’s arc ... Throughout it all, Wiedeman is an appropriately understated guide, aware that his subject is so laden with self-regard that it only takes a deadpan clause to convey the absurdity of it all ... would be absorbing enough were it just about one man’s grandiosity, but Wiedeman has a larger argument to make about what Neumann represents.
... propulsive ... Wiedeman writes that it is 'hard to figure out what lesson Adam, or the entrepreneurs of the future, should learn from his rise and fall.' Is it, though? In fact, any future entrepreneur who hopes to get rich fast can draw a straightforward directive from Neumann’s experience: Emulate it. More relevant is what the rest of us should learn.